Most of us don’t have all the time we want to carry on ministries of hospitality. We seek to discover shortcuts so that we can open our homes with a minimum of effort. Through the years certain basic principles have been helpful in allowing me to combine an open home with the other complicated demands on my time.
The first one is: Never clean before company.
Once I had established a system of housekeeping, it was not necessary to make the house spotless before people arrived. I didn’t clean for people, I cleaned on schedule. This has freed enormous quantities of time. For many years all I did was get ready for groups and pick up after them. Finally, I have learned that things don’t need to be spotlessly clean, only in order.
When things are in order, people are not going to notice if the rug was not vacuumed that morning. And even if they do, they will probably feel more at home. I have invariably made close friends when they saw dishes stacked in the kitchen, or dust on the piano, or fingerprints on the front door!
I follow this rule so adamantly that I save my cleaning routine for after company is gone—the housekeeping is scheduled for Saturday morning after the late Friday night potluck dinner. Obviously I make clean sheets available for overnight guests—but I am not above stripping the mattress and asking those same people to put the fresh linen on it for me. The guest bathroom is refreshed after the sand-and-peanut-butter crowd. But, I am not a fanatic, since spotlessness is impossible as long as there is grit and goo to wash off little hands.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen Mains serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags. This microfinance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.
Karen has long had an interest in Christian hospitality and is the author of the best-selling book, Open Heart, Open Home.
An award-winning author of several other books, Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. The are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and churches at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.